Tuesday 27 October 2009


Today was all planned out. Luke would have his friend over, Alec and Ethan were off to some friends house (two brothers who are best friends with Alec and Ethan), and Sophie and I would entertain ourselves with trying to fix the dishwasher!

However, Luke's friend was unable to come, as he was fighting off a cold. Luke was so disappointed, he'd been looking forward to it for ages. We tried other friends but they were out, and the fact that Alec and Ethan were meeting friends just seemed to rub salt in the wound. It then struck me that Sophie had never been swimming, and with two non-swimmers I would never be able to take her with the boys until they learned to swim. However, Luke can swim, and the other two were busy, so off we went to some local baths.

She had a wonderful time, giggling, drinking the water, jumping in, chasing after Luke, and then when we went into the bigger pool with the big children jumping all over an inflatable, she was not perturbed at all. We were in there for at least 45 minutes, and not a grumble (well only when I said she shouldn't try to bite the rope!)

I have a feeling this will be a regular event now, but just Sophie and me. It was lovely spending that extra time with Luke too, it made me realise how often he just has to tag along with the younger ones, and how little he complains. The joys of juggling the needs of everyone, but today I think I just about managed it!

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Fairtrade ups and downs

This week I have been concentrating on Fairtrade. Starting last Saturday with a fair at a local-ish church. This had been arranged all around when I could do it, and it sounded as if it could have been great, taking Fairtrade to a new audience. Except, no-one was interested. A few people came in through the door, and I sold one thing (and that was half price!) I have left catalogues with them so hopefully a few orders may come from that, but I'm not holding my breath.

Today I had a coffee morning at home, invited people from school, from the neighbourhood, from church, and from our brestfeeding support group. Lots of cake, tea and coffee, chatting and browsing of catalogues. It was far more relaxed, far more enjoyable, and Fairtrade products were ordered aplenty!

I have another one to finish off the week at Jo's house, which will be a relaxed affair too, so hopefully a few more Fairtrade Christmas gifts will be given this year.

I was quite shocked by the strength of my emotions regarding the flop on Saturday. I hadn't realised how passionate I had got about Fairtrade. I think what wound me up the most was, people wanting to be seen to be doing Fairtrade, perhaps as if it were some status symbol, but just not committing to it.

I will stop before I launch into a rant! But just to say, please, if you have the choice to choose Fairtrade, just do it. The knowledge that it is free of enforced labour, and is helping communities who are experiencing situations we can barely begin to imagine to get on their feet, is worth those few extra pennies.

Friday 16 October 2009

Blog Birthday Celebrations

Following my post about a giveaway for my blog birthday, we drew a name from a proverbial hat (ie a pile of names on folded paper on the table!) and Michelle now has the choice of a tie-dye top, any size, colour and design.. If you pm me your details on GP we can sort out what you would like.

Congratulations, and than you everyone for joining in for a bit of fun.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Autumn down the plot

I have decided I'm going to try to be far more organised with the allotment this next year. Starting with recording what is going where etc.

Today I have planted 50 red onion sets, 50 Japanese Onion sets, and 3 bulbs of garlic. All in the bed that had the new potatoes in this last year. More fortunate than by planning but apparently alliums follow on nicely from potatoes. There is space for one more row of something, so perhaps come the spring we can add some spring onions to the allium bed.

The runner beans are dug up, and the plums we cannot reach on the tree are now past their best, so will be left for the birds! We still have LOADS of cooking apples to come, but again they are out of reach, and are not falling with a good shake of the tree, so I will have to be a little more patient!

We have alot of tidying up to do. My to do list for the autumn/winter period is:
Pot the runners from the strawberries and thin the strawberry bed
Clear the calendula when it has stopped flowering, and perhaps collect a few more seeds
Finish clearing the top plot, and move the raspberry canes to the far end
Lay a couple more paths
Plant broad beans to overwinter.
And LOTS more clearing!

Should keep me busy for a while!

Monday 12 October 2009

What are the chances?

I know the chances of winning these things are pretty slim, but this is just too good to not try your luck.


Friday 9 October 2009

Help me celebrate

On the 15th October I will have been blogging for a year (still haven't got to grips with photos though!!) I thought to help me celebrate I would have a give-away. I will do a custom made tie-dye top for the person whose name gets pulled from the hat from the people who leave a comment on this post. It may be a recycled top if I have one in the right size to hand, or I may have to buy new, but you can choose from a range of colours and designs (swirls, circles, stripes, or random).

Thank you for following me this last year, it is a lovely way to connect with others.


Tuesday 6 October 2009

A positive post at long last!

Reading through the last month or so, there has been alot of negativity, well not so much negativity but posts of concern. I thought I'd better rectify this, and look at the things that have been happening, often in the background, but should be acknowledged.

Alec has been voted as vice-chairperson on the class council. He was soooooo chuffed. He had prepared a speech to give in the pre-election build up, and was looking forward to the counting of the votes. He had a landslide victory, and was, of course, over the moon!

Ethan is doing football after school, which makes him feel very grown up.

Luke, despite being unhappy at school has had a lovely weekend at home, playing, helping Stuart with clearing out the garage and just relaxing.

I have been doing some crafting. I knitted a pumpkin hat, that was supposed to be for a newborn baby, as a gift for a friends baby, but ended up WAY too big, so Sophie has acquired it! I will have to rejig things to make another hat quite a bit smaller. The little baby who it is intended for is Joel, who was born to Paul and Sue on the 24th September.

I've also made a lavender wreath, more by accident than anything. I started sticking bits of lavender in one of the willow rings I made a while ago, and it just happened. I found some ribbon to finish it off, and now have to find somewhere to display it. I am rather pleased with myself as it looks really rather good, for an accident!

Sophie... well her sole purpose seems to be to empty things! She will empty any box, drawer, cupboard, and then try to sit in it! I don't know whether to laugh or cry sometimes, as she is obviously enjoying herself, but the trail of devastation is unprecedented! One of her sweeter moments is her singing "twinkle, twinkle little star" with the actions! It has definitely been "her" song, after the 40 minute drive back from Worcester one time singing it over and over again in an attempt to keep her quiet!

As for Stuart, despite an awful cough (thank goodness he didn't have that whilst he was recovering from his op!) is enjoying being able to hold Sophie again, and is now making inroads into getting things put away, ie loft contents back in storage in the loft, "junk" in what will eventually be Sophie's room being sorted through, and clearing out the garage. It has been bugging him for so long, but has been unable to do anything about it, so I think he is relieved more than anything to be at last able to address it!

And the lottie and the chickens are still producing well. A bumper crop of apples and plums, which is stretching my culinary skills as I'm the only one who likes stewed fruit! And Betty (the temperamental layer) is laying again, for now!

If anybody has got this far, well done! But it shows me how much we have to be grateful for, and after the last month, I really am truly grateful!

Friday 2 October 2009

School Blues

Luke is not happy. He really has not settled in well to school this year. There has been a change in the tutor system so they are in mixed year tutor groups, and Luke has found this rather unsettling, combined with some rather "shouty" teachers, who have struck the fear of god into him, so now when he is confused about something he won't ask, for fear of being shouted at. He doesn't want me to intervene, as it would make him feel "a baby", so we are stuck.

Its heart breaking to see him so sad, and having had a miserable time at school myself at his age, I can empathise so much with him. The best I can do is make homelife as stress free as possible (not easy when organisation really isn't my forte!) so at least he has some nice hours in the day. I had thought of going behind his back to speak with the teachers, but that is just too much of a risk, one that I am not prepared to take, if he ever found out, how could he trust me again?

This parenting lark is tough! I cant wait for half-term to have him happy again.

Fortunately the other two are enjoying school, I must be grateful for that.